Audiobook Review: A Trick of the Light

Why have I not read any Louise Penny before this? Wonderful, expressive writing, rich and vivid characters that are all at once charming, hilarious and interesting to spend time with. A smart mystery but with that little extra with sharp and very realistic characters.

Synopsis: ( and taken from The New York Times) In A Trick of the Light, Inspector Gamache returns to Three Pines, a village so tiny and secretive it doesn’t appear on any maps.  A dead woman in a red dress turns up in Clara Morrow’s flower garden, ruining this local artist’s moment of glory after her solo show at the Musée d’Art Contemporain in Montreal. When the victim is identified as an art critic and frenemy from Clara’s past, she becomes an obvious “person of interest” to the police. But with so many members of the cutthroat art community on hand to make what they will of Clara’s success, there are plenty of suspects to go around.

The narrator, of course, is an extremely important person for an audiobook. The first five minutes or so are crucial in letting me know if I can continue or I’ll be hitting eject (I’ve done that with a few but then I’ve also painfully endured through others)! At first, I wasn’t so sure about this one, but as the book progressed and Chief Inspector Gamache digs deeper in to the world of artists, art dealers, gallery owners, the stodgey, almost pompous-like voice becomes absolute listening perfection.

Such fluid beautiful writing with characters that pop off the page. I loved having this story read to me. Having Ruth, the old, ornery drunken poet, brought to life by the narrator is worth the price of admission alone. Her exchanges with Inspector Beauvoir are just awesome. The exchanges between Beauvoir and Gamache are brilliant as well.

But the beauty and feeling in her writing also made me cry when I drove to work (at the part where Gamache tells Lillian Dyson’s parents she has been murdered.) The tenderness, the emotion, in how it was written (and narrated) was done in such a way that I had trouble driving the car while blinking back the tears.

It did drag just a teeny-tad for me in the middle-to-the-end, but overall, a very enjoyable read. Her writing will most definitely draw me back for more, and in my opinion is far more satisfying than Kate Atkinson’s drab, non-descriptive style.

And…by the end I had it narrowed down to two suspects and I’m happy to say that one of my two was the actual murderer. Duh dunh dunhhh…. :-)